School Specialty Helps Create a Pioneering 21st Century High School
Unique design elements and flexible furnishings come together for collaborative learning.
It’s no secret that today’s modern school has little in common with the schools of the 20th century. Gone is the educational assembly line, replaced with environments as flexible as they are functional. Forward-thinking administrators know that movements like collaborative environments, project-based learning, and technology integration will only continue to grow as a new school completes its life cycle.
That’s why when the Shelby School District in Ohio, located between Cleveland and Columbus, set out to construct a new Shelby High School nearly a decade ago, they set out to create the most visionary, advanced learning space possible and sought the furniture and equipment partner that had the most expertise in facilitating such a project, Projects by Design (PBD), a division of School Specialty, Inc.
Industry-leading Experience and Vision
The district selected PBD because of its proven ability to provide not only the furniture and equipment compatible with modern learning, but the additional services that would be needed to identify the strategies and solutions that are not only in demand now but will be needed in the years to come. These services included project management and design consultancy.
“Projects by Design offered everything we needed to build and outfit a 21st century learning high school. Their wide range of products allowed us to find the perfect fit for every aspect of the school, and they utilized their expertise to suggest enhancements to the school that we did not initially think of,” said Tim Tarvin, Superintendent of Shelby City Schools.
Additionally, PBD managed day-to-day operations throughout the design, construction and outfitting of the school, allowing administrators to focus on school affairs rather than micromanaging the project. “I felt comfortable giving up some of the decision-making to PBD because I knew they would choose what was best for our kids and for our school,” Superintendent Tarvin said.
What Does the 21st Century Look Like?
The first notable departure from outdated design practices employed at the new Shelby High School is the inclusion of “double-wide” hallways. Whereas hallways are usually an afterthought, the wider halls better utilize that space by facilitating student collaboration, study, and socialization. For example, small groups can now meet out in the hall where they don’t disturb the rest of their peers in the main classroom.
The teacher can still supervise the small groups through a liberal use of glass throughout the school. Not only does the glass afford better views campus-wide, but it also serves as a more versatile dry-erase surface without cluttering walls with black or white boards.
Uniform classrooms are a thing of the past as well. Shelby High is outfitted with some classrooms that are twice the size of a conventional room, further providing the flexibility that teachers and curricula need. Large lectures can be hosted in the full-size room, or a sliding partition can split the room in half for smaller groups and projects that are more in-depth.
Reflecting and facilitating these groundbreaking design ideas, PBD outfitted Shelby High with modern furniture and equipment that enhance the highly adaptable nature of the school. Every product selected helps students and teachers change from individual to group learning at a moment’s notice. Desks can change configurations for different types of projects. Mobile seating, carpeting, and white boards round out PBD’s contributions to ensure that the school is completely optimized for 21st century learning at every turn.
The new Shelby High School has already been met with an enthusiastic reception from the Shelby community. “The community is confident that the funding for the new high school was put to good use. Thanks to School Specialty, every aspect and miniscule detail of Shelby High has come together to foster an environment of collaborative, 21st century learning. Faculty, students and parents are ecstatic about the school’s unique design and the high quality furniture and equipment offered by Projects by Design.”
Principal Gies agrees: “Projects by Design provided everything we needed, from products to back-end management. Their services were critical in fulfilling our dream of preparing kids for the 21st century. Working with School Specialty was a great experience, and they have continued to support us even after installation was completed. I anticipate that we will always be able to call on SSI and PBD if we have any other needs in the future.”
Working Together, School Planning & Management, June 2014, pages 35-36
To learn more about our Projects by Design® cost-saving, turnkey solution, visit www.ProjectsByDesign.com.